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A new topic for many of us as queen rearing is not a common practise in South Africa.

Justin Thacker gave a very comprehensive overview of his procedure and adaptations to local conditions and bee lifecycles. Even if you never intend to queen rear the information helps to understand our bees better. He also gave some useful tips on hive splits which is something more of us might attempt. Including the use of the Snelgrove board to improve the success of a split, as it allows the warmth of one hive to keep the brood of the split up to temperature.

Although queen rearing is not necessary in South Africa as we are very lucky to have a healthy wild bee population that allows us to catch wild swarms, it is perhaps something we may need to look to in the future. Perhaps we should be putting some effort into promoting well performing hives or better natured hives rather than relying on the wild population to replenish our annual losses or grow our apiaries.

Attend our open days to learn little nuggets of information like this from our experienced members. It all helps us to understand the bees and become better beekeepers.

James Ballantyne also gave a short presentation on his work with the Umsonti community forestry project and how they are introducing beekeeping to rural Southern KZN.

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